When I arrived at the hall where the AGM of Voluntary Action Worthing was to be held, everything was calm and under control.It really was most impressive.
I am, however, not completely mad so I knew that in the previous four hours my Merry Band of Four had been beavering away, putting out the chairs both in the main hall and in the workshop area, setting up displays and arranging
the all-important refreshment table. Not to mention ensuring that all the technology was working properly so that our new website www.vaworthing.org.uk could be seen by all.
It seems to be the Season of the Annual General Meeting. Next week sees the AGM of our local U3A where my friend Pam is seeking election to the Committee. As I told her today, while we chatted over
a cup of coffee and a digestive biscuit at her house, it was extremely unlikely that her nomination would be opposed, given that most people take two steps backwards when asked to join committees. She is going to be the Social Secretary, arranging speakers
for our monthly meetings so is on the look-out for interesting and engaging people who can talk the hind-legs off a donkey. Mr B and I will not be at the AGM to support Pam’s nomination because we will be in Wales, celebrating our lovely niece's
wedding and sitting down to a delicious meal of Roasted Loin of Snowdonia Pork, complete with crackling. Mr B is particularly excited about the crackling. And the wedding, it goes without saying.
In a couple of weeks’ time it will be the AGM of the Bowls Club and I will doubtless be called upon to (i) help the Hon. Secretary to stuff all the envelopes containing agendas, nomination forms and voting slips and
(ii) take notes at the meeting. Mr B thinks I should give up being the Assistant Secretary on the grounds that he believes quite strongly that I am Doing Too Many Things. How many is “too many”, do you think? I need to know.
Back to the AGM of Voluntary Action Worthing where I had important duties to perform. I had to meet and greet the Deputy Mayor and introduce him to people he might just be interested
in meeting. I had to sit at the top table and welcome everyone to the event, remembering to turn on the microphone and to hold it near to my mouth so that everyone could hear me. Which might, of course, have been a mixed blessing but I was only
doing as I had been told. Indeed, our Chief Officer Julia had typed me out a crib-sheet of such detail that there was little chance of me slipping up badly.
at the meeting who was entitled to vote had been given a yellow voting slip in their delegates’ packs. My job was to ensure that people were duly proposed and seconded and that everyone then held up their yellow slips and kept them aloft while
they were counted. Yellow slips will not be needed at the U3A meeting which will only be open to full members entitled to vote. At the Bowls Committee AGM, voting will be by secret ballot. You see what I mean, every organisation has its own rules
and regulations when it comes to an Annual General Meeting.
For some reason best known to myself I decided that the business of the meeting needed livening
up a bit so I encouraged the audience to applaud as every Committee member was re-elected and every officer confirmed in post for another year. The loudest applause was afforded to the representative from our auditors when he pronounced that our annual
accounts were all in order. Why this should be so I don’t know. No, I am not questioning why our annual accounts were all in order, don’t be silly, I am questioning why the auditor received such a rousing response to a somewhat dry presentation
of the figures. I can only think that this was because everyone was getting used to applauding, meaning that the scale of applause was escalating in direct proportion to the number of the agenda item. Either that or it was on account of the fact that
he was sporting a quite magnificent beard.
I was hoping that my approach enlivened the proceedings but I have had a few serious misgivings since, on analysing
my performance. Was my delivery perhaps a little too frivolous? Did I act more like a Stand-Up Comic and less like a respectable Chair? Are AGMs supposed to be serious affairs, reflecting the importance of the business being conducted?
I am comforted by the fact that, at the conclusion of the business, everybody went off into their chosen workshops and clearly enjoyed every minute of them. The day ended on
a high – accompanied by sighs of relief from my Merry Band of Four that all their stalwart efforts had been rewarded.
Another Annual General Meeting over
for another year. Next year I shall grow a beard and attract even more applause than the auditor. Game on...